Is there anything sadder in this world than a cracked iPhone screen? As the proud owner/host organism to an iOS device, I wince involuntarily whenever a friend whips out their iPhone and looks something up on a shattered screen. Unfortunately, squinting through the cracks is often the price you pay for that glorious-but-fragile glass and metal construction. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to protect your phone — whether it’s still in one piece or on its last legs.
If protection is top of mind for you, embrace the bulk and go for a tank-like case — better safe than sorry, right? Otterbox makes the quintessential shields for those who want to completely doom-proof their iPhone. They offer everything from shock and scratch protection in their lower-end models, all the way up to the waterproof and dustproof Pursuit case(think, a really sporty Walkman tape player). Their Commuter series cases feature a silicone inner layer inside a tough plastic exterior — and, yes, it comes with a screen protector. The whole package is reasonably slim, so while your phone will be well-shielded against nasty falls, you’ll still look like a hip person with a fancy smartphone. It’s a win all around! (Android and Blackberry users: Otterbox has you covered with Commuters, too.) Grab an iPhone 4S or 5 case for $39.99 at Future Shop.
Hopefully, you’re not regularly exposing your phone to sharp objects. But if you are, you’d be wise to sink a few bucks into an adhesive screen protector from Buff Labs. The four-layer construction translates to major shock protection — just check out the videos on their site (bufflabs.com), where the Buff Labs team subjects an iPhone to scrapes from nails, blows from hammers, and the impact of a flying brick. We’d recommend not trying this at home. Grab a Buff Labs screen shield for $19.99 at amazon.ca.
Here’s a case so smash-ready it’s got “impact” in the name. Tech 21’s Impact Mesh Case has a colourful-yet-industrial look that doesn’t scream “practical” to everyone around you. Worked into that subtle mesh design, however, is D3O, a military-grade impact material. The molecules in D3O lock together on impact, dispersing the energy of the shock. It’s available for the iPhone 5 in four colours, and sells for $34.95 at the Apple Store.
If you've lost one too many phones to bad falls or water leaks, it may be worth replacing your existing model for something a little more disaster-proof. Samsung's Galaxy Rugby LTE was designed to meet military specifications — it's shock-resistant, waterproof, and dustproof. Folks have dropped their Rugbys in aquariums, buried them in sand, even frozen them in blocks of ice — all with zero effect on the phone - you can literally watch Netflix underwater with it. But the Rugby should also meet all your less-extreme smartphone needs with its dual-core processor, super-fast LTE download speeds and 4-inch screen. It's $0 with a three-year term or $450 with no term at Bell.